Conclusion

Following the huge intellectual, political and emotional process I have undertaken in un/learning, deconstructing and reconstructing diverse ideas and information , I have generated an first draft of my ideas of what an ‘anarchist agroecology’ can look like. This concludes this output packet and I hope generates more questions than it does answers.

I have also managed to conclude and condense my thoughts on the strategic direction of the animal liberation movement, which you can read in the supporting material section here.

To have more conversations about anarchist agroecology, animal liberation, or any of the topics explored in this output packet, please email me at: nicole@emptycagesdesign.org

Towards an Anarchist Agroecology

Working towards an anarchist agroecology is a commitment to creating not only a different food system, but a different way of life that transforms social, ecological, economic and inter-species relations. Agroecology in practice underpins the actuality of achieving individual and collective autonomy and freedom from oppression.

Being able to live as human beings in relationship with the land requires resistance to, and dismantlement of, capitalism and the state. Anarchists recognise that lobbying is futile, while the state’s function is to protect the propertied, owning and capitalist class. Anarchist agroecological thinking rejects the consumer-producer relationship and seeks to build models that de-monetise the food system.

However it is not a question of waiting for a revolution or one day achieving an anarchist society. The work starts now and builds on generations of those displaced from the land through capitalist coercion protected by the state.  

How we produce and distribute food is a fundamental issue that anarchists cannot ignore. Agroecological practices are those that support us to live in a more socially just and ecologically sound relationship with the land. We reject and actively resist the industrial and capitalist agricultural models of monocultures, pesticides and fossil fuel based fertilisers, genetic engineering, factory farming, plantation slavery and more. Our commitment is to the freedom not only of ourselves, but also of the seeds, plants and animals, from corporate control.

An anarchist agroecological worldview recognises the historical repercussions of agriculture and its role in creating patriarchical, racist, colonialist and class-stratified societies and civilisations. It therefore engenders a commitment to rewilding, confronting domestication and creating alternative models of living with inspiration from horticultural and gatherer/hunter societies. Anarchist agroecology means de-colonalisation. It means solidarity with Indigenous Nations resisting assimilation and ecological genocide via capitalist developments, such as fracking.

An anarchist agroecology confronts the last 10,000 years of patriarchical agriculture. It seeks to compost gender and queer how food is produced and consumed. The colour of the food system is not ignored, racism in our own movements as well as those systems that oppress our communities, is actively confronted.

How and why knowledge is produced and shared matters. An anarchist agroecological worldview integrates both indigenous and peasant-based knowledge of cultivation, with observation, action research and grassroots science (not controlled or dominated by universities or industry). Knowledge is shared through popular education models, such as grower to grower (campesino o campesino) networks, field and farm schools, open source journals and more.

The concept of property is rejected, with working class appropriation encouraged, via land squats, occupations and more. In the long term process of social change, there is a commitment to the re-collectivisation of land ‘ownership’ and the creation of space for diverse patterns to be explored, suited to each community and bioregion. The re-appropriation of land will ignite huge state repression, as such anarchist agroecologists must cultivate resilience to repression, build models of solidarity globally, and recognise the futility and dogma of nonviolent ideologies. The state and owning classes will not allow the means of their economic production to be withdrawn without a fight.

An anarchist agroecology recognises that humans do not have dominion of animals or nature and that animals do not deserve to be commodified, exploited, abused or enslaved, any more than their human counterparts. The generation of radical solidarity across species is the consequence of embracing an anarchist agroecology, which recognises speciesism as harmful and an ongoing barrier to liberty, as any other form of oppression.

Achieving an anarchist agroecology will take coalition building, community organising, active attacks on the state and capitalist food system, learning and re-learning practices and tools to feed ourselves and restore landbases, and more. We will bring about huge changes through breaking bread and breaking sweat together.

In summary, working towards an anarchist agroecology differs from other worldviews and strategies around changing our food system. The main premises are that the state is not our friend, but our enemy. That animals are not ours to ‘farm’, enslave, control, cage, slaughter, or accumulate wealth from. That multiple forms of oppression intersect and demand an analysis and practice that recognises the totality of different forms of domination. It recognises that anarchism cannot be achieved without models of food production that support humans to live in liberated relationships with each other, animals or the land.

Resources & References

Anarchism/State/Capitalism/Class

Race

Speciesism/Animal Agriculture

Gender

General Anti-Oppression Links

Agroecology/Land use/Permaculture

Resistance/Anarchist Agroecology Examples

Other Key Books read during this Output Period

  • hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress. New York: Routledge.
  • Berger, D. (2014). Struggle within.
  • Law, V. and Martens, C. (2012). Don't leave your friends behind. Oakland: PM Press.

Films watched during this Output Period

Peasant collectives played a large role in sustaining the anarchist resistance in the Spanish Revolution, 1936.

"Food sovereignty is about the struggles for autonomy, for territorial control, to build strong people’s assemblies, to recuperate lo comunitario; it means building movements to care for the forests, water, recuperate the soil, preservation of ancestral seeds, stopping the entrance of GMOs. These are everyday and permanent struggles."

- Ramon Vera

Land occupations will play a huge role in re-distributing land for agroecology.

Occupy the Farm is an ongoing social movement started in California.

MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra) have used land occupations to settle thousands of families in Brazil.

Grow Heathrow, a squatted land project started to resist the expansion of Heathrow Airport

Yorkley Court Farm, a 60 acre squatted farm in the Forest of Dean, UK.

 

"We believe in agroecology as a tool in the construction of another way to produce and reproduce life. It is part of a socialist project, a partnership between workers and grassroots organizations, both rural and urban. It should promote the emancipation of workers, peasants, indigenous peoples and afro-descendents. True agroecology, however, cannot coexist in the context of the capitalist system."

- La Via Campesina, 2013

Zapatista farmer. Agroecology has been central to the Zapatistas being autonomous.

"The land struggles of the MST and the EZLN are not struggles demanding that elites live up to their mortal obligations towards their subordinates. On the contrary, both movements seek to fundamentally transform or even transcend that relationship by empowering their membership through the creation of 'autonomous rural communities'.... These... allow their members to secure and protect their access to land and hence resist the full commodification of land and monetarization of relations of production."

- Leandro Vergara-Camus

Growing with Grace is a vegan-organic market garden in the UK. Plant based systems will replace harmful industrial animal agriculture.

"We must subvert the human-animal relationship that is based on human dominance over animals and start creating new relationships that reflect our desires and passions. Coupled with a project of attack on the institutions that perpetuate relationships based on domination, this is part of the insurrectional project that we engage in."

- Peter Gelderloos

A transformation of land use (where land isn't used for capitalist profit), will create more land for self-determing animals & support the process of rewilding.